New research recently attempted to identify the various types of medications that could exacerbate a senior’s risk of being involved in car accidents, and found that painkillers and antidepressants topped the list.
A senior person may be at a much higher risk of being involved in a car accident due to a number of factors. These factors include lower vision, lower hearing abilities, delayed reaction times, impaired judgement abilities, and one of the most important of all, the side effects of medications. A senior is more likely to suffer from a number of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and may be on medications for several of these conditions. Many of these medications do come with side effects that include drowsiness, fatigue, confusion, disorientation, lack of concentration and other symptoms.
A recent study attempted to identify the specific classifications of drugs that are most dangerous for a senior driver. The researchers followed a group of senior adults over 10 years of their lives, and focused on their performances on annual road tests. The researchers found that seniors who were on certain types of drugs were much more likely to fail their annual tests or score very low on the tests. The biggest culprits were anti – depressants and sedatives or sleeping aids which were found to have the most serious impact on senior driving skills. Seniors who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or over-the-counter painkillers were also much more likely to do poorly on their driving skills tests. The researchers found that when the seniors were on these three different types of drugs, they were more likely to get marginal or failing scores on the driving tests.
The researchers accounted for a number of variables, including whether the participants came from economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds, their memory and cognitive skills, and found that even accounting for these factors, some medications were linked to poor performance on these driving tests.
The researchers say that it is important for physicians to discuss the side effects of these medications with patients before prescribing these drugs. Unfortunately, far too often, doctors are strapped for time and fail to discuss the side effects of these medications with their elderly patients, with the result that these patients may drive without understanding that the medications that they are on significantly impair their ability to operate a vehicle, increasing their auto accident risks. If you are on medications and have found yourself confused, sleepy, disoriented or fatigued in the daytime, talk to your doctor about prescribing alternatives.
The Atlanta auto accident lawyers at Katz Personal Injury lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered injuries in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your legal options for a claim for damages. You may qualify for compensation that includes medical costs, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to a lawyer at our firm, and discuss your case. Initial consultations are free.